Expressive Art Therapy
Expressive art therapy at Promises Austin encourages clients to express their complex and ever-changing emotions in a non-verbal way through art. This can be less threatening and invasive than typical verbal therapy.
Considering that many clients arrive at treatment feeling closed off and devastated by addiction, it may be difficult or near impossible for them to just open up and talk freely about what’s bothering them, what happened in the past, and the challenges they face. So unaccustomed to genuine human interaction, some clients with accompanying depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental health disorders may find that it’s easier to speak through art.
Benefits of Expressive Art Therapy for Addiction
During art therapy groups, our clients are encouraged to use colors, symbols and imagery to freely express themselves in a variety of media. Expressive art therapy is an outlet of free expression that can help clients resolve inner conflicts and explore themselves in a way that might have remained hidden from more clinical types of therapy. Creating, drawing, sculpting and other forms of artistic expression help restore self-esteem in those who have lost it and create it in those who’ve never before felt it.
Expressive art therapy is also useful as a coping mechanism, a healthy way to better understand emotions and encourage nonverbal communication through artistic expression. Best of all, everyone can participate, as the therapy requires no previous artistic ability or expectations.
Clients who participate in this experiential therapy report that they are more aware of themselves and who they are as a person. They also report feelings of contentment, relaxation and a state of calmness.
Healing Through Art
In addition to dedicated art therapy groups, expressive art therapy is woven into the Daring WayTM curriculum at Promises Austin. Art therapy tends to focus on topics that are relevant to the client community at the time, or topics that are so universal that they’re relevant to anyone recovering from addiction or dual diagnosis. For example, it could consist of vision boards, a Higher Power box, or an artistic representation of the masks that we wear.
Clients also create art during therapeutic recreation. These are outings that they take once a week. As an example, they may go to Color Me Mine, a local art studio where they paint pottery that they can use as gifts or keep for themselves. There are a lot of different creative outlets where our clients can express themselves.